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AAA projects Oklahoma travel up 9% for Labor Day

The American of Vinita, Oklahoma

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AAA today projected the number of Americans traveling this Labor Day holiday weekend will increase 9.9 percent from Labor Day of 2009, with approximately 34.4 million travelers taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home. Last year, 31.3 million Americans traveled during the Labor Day holiday. The'2010 Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, September 2 to Monday, September 6.

"While media reports on the state of the U.S. economy are mixed, many Americans are apparently still interested in taking one more trip before the summer travel season comes to a close," said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. "AAA travel agents are continuing to report strong increases in the number of travelers making advanced reservations. Hotel, car and vacation package reservations for the upcoming Labor Day weekend are up more than ten percent compared to last year."

The increase in travel for Labor Day appears to be the result of economic improvement over the past year. While job growth and home sales have been disappointing, gross domestic product, household net worth and consumer confidence have increased and consumer debt has decreased. The U.S. travel industry began to gain traction in the fourth quarter of 2009 and that momentum has carried over into this year.

"In addition to economic data, the date of the Labor Day holiday is another variable considered in the forecast," Mai said. "The earlier the holiday falls in September, the more people tend to travel. Although the growth in Labor Day travel is predicted to be strong, had the holiday fallen earlier in the month the forecasted number of travelers would likely be even higher."

Travel by Oklahomans will be up 8.9 percent over the holiday period last year, AAA reports. Of the 379,100 Oklahomans expected to travel, 365,600 will drive, a 9.3 percent jump over year ago figures, and 16,000 will fly, an increase of 3.6 percent.

Barring any major tropical storm activity in the Gulf Coast region, AAA expects the Oklahoma average price of self-serve regular gasoline to be between $2.50 and $2.60 per gallon during this holiday weekend. Gasoline is about a dime more than it was a year ago

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Original Publication Date: September 2, 2010

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